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Decker School of Nursing Disaster Drill

(Source: Kate Thornton)

Chaos and tension could be felt in the Events Center at Binghamton University Tuesday morning.

Nursing students at the Decker School of Nursing at BU were put to the ultimate test at community-wide disaster drill.

More than 300 people participated between nurses and volunteers playing victims.  The actors were victims of a mock scenario of a radiological emergency at Nine Mile Point nuclear power plant in Oswego County.

The "injured" residents, played by children, BU students, and elderly from Susquehanna Nursing Home were transported to a safe zone (the Events Center).  These "victims" were required to be evacuated from the radiological hot zone, which eliminated the use of nearby major hospitals.

"(The nursing students) are outside scanning everyone for a radiological event, and decontaminating patients that could be contaminated," said Clinical Assistant Professor Margaret Decker.

Students said it was a great way to take everything they've learned and apply it to a real-life situation.

"You definitely see what you've learned and how important the things you've learned are.  Taking vitals, taking head to toe assessments, and constantly reassessing the patient,  You see how important that is in a situation like this," said senior nursing student Ariel Schnur.

"Everyone's a little nervous because they're not sure what to do, but we're definitely learning," said junior nursing student John-Paul Dimarco who played a victim.

"It's good to have a disaster drill like this just in case anything really does happen.  We're prepared," said senior nursing student Scott Rosen.

The disaster drill also gave a future nursing student, 13-year old Aliceon Calta a glimpse into her possible future career.

"I want to become a nurse in the air force someday, so I thought that this would be good experience for me to do to help me get ready for my future," said Calta.

Some of the nurses who participated in the drill were nursing assistants during the September '11 flood when a shelter was established at the Events Center.

Rosen was one of them.  "I went around and did little things with the nurses like giving someone a bath and helping anyone with medical needs."

Rosen said Monday's disaster drill brought back many memories from that time.

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